Posted by David Martin

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Today’s Daily Telegraph published our letter, which calls for new support for molten salt reactors in the UK

Following the recent coverage of exciting UK-led breakthroughs in molten salt reactor and high-temperature reactor design, of which much more soon, we are delighted to report that today’s Daily Telegraph has printed the Foundation’s letter on molten salt reactors and the importance of investing in research and development. You can read our letter on the Telegraph’s letters page (scroll half way down), or below.

The UK can play a pivotal role in the research and development of game-changing Molten Salt Reactors, if the country’s nuclear scientists and engineers are given a chance. The past 20 years of swingeing budget cuts — a 99% cut in reactor R&D since 1994 — have made it harder to tackle climate change and promote energy security by preventing the development of one of the most promising clean energy technologies.

Without urgent development and deployment of advanced reactors, we all face a much greater risk of catastrophic changes to the Earth’s climate and challenges for energy security. R&D can help by bringing down the cost of nuclear energy. The UK has always been a leader in signing up to international commitments on climate change — now it is time for it to show it means it by backing the research and development of cheaper, cleaner and safer reactors.

The Foundation will redouble its work in support of this as we approach the key Paris 2015 climate conference. Stay tuned for more details.

For more on molten salt reactors, see our webpage.


Our letter (source: Daily Telegraph letters, 1st Oct 2014)

SIR – Nuclear reactor research and development has suffered a 99 per cent budget cut in the past 20 years. A country that can find nearly £3 billion a year in order to decommission old nuclear facilities, but which cannot muster a thousandth of that to research next-generation fission technology, has its priorities all wrong (“Britain can take the lead in a new age of nuclear power”, Business, September 25).

The Government must once again make Britain fertile ground for research and development, starting by revitalising the country’s nuclear research base. Politicians should be bold enough to demand it.

Cheaper, safer and cleaner molten salt reactors are being recognised round the world as groundbreaking technology. Why not make a commitment to research and develop them fully in Britain?

David Martin
Chief Executive, Alvin Weinberg Foundation
London WC2


  1. Robin Gould says:

    Much is spoken about increasing the capacity of MSR plant upon the economical conditions for single power station use, yet little is yet spoken about the economical conditions for small capacity (handy size) multiple plants. As a member of the Institute of Marine Engineers and Scientists I can advise, that there are 18,000 ships plying the products of different countries between each other. All of these ships would be candidates for propulsion by MSR plants of handy size up to 50MW.

    Handy size would also include the electricity requirements of Airports, Hospitals, Supermarkets, Factories and even remote towns throughout the world. With a UK industial facility manufacturing handy size MSR plants for sale and export, the UK economy would burgeon.

  2. Leslie Chin says:

    Terrestrial Energy, a Canadian start-up is planning to build a prototype MSR demonstration plant using thorium and depleted uranium/plutonium fuel.

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